Warren David Harless (photo)

First Name:Warren Middle Initial:David Last Name:Harless


909 East Main Street
Suite 1200
Richmond, VA 23219-3095

I Accept I Decline


David Harless is a partner in the firm's Litigation department and serves as head of the firm's Employment practice group. He represents a wide variety of corporations, closely-held companies, and individuals in complex business and commercials disputes, such as contract, business tort, restrictive covenant, trade secret, and employment litigation, and products liability, premises liability, and tort defense litigation. He spends significant time advising clients regarding employment matters, and defending against discrimination, wrongful discharge, and hiring claims. He is admitted to practice in Virginia, the United States District Court and Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia, and the U. S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

More Information:

Mr. Harless is a member of the firm's Executive Committee, and a former president of the Virginia State Bar and the Bar Association of the City of Richmond. He has been a faculty member of the Virginia State Bar's mandatory professionalism course, the panel that trains such faculty, as well as the National Trial Advocacy College of the University of Virginia. In addition, Mr. Harless has lectured on numerous business, employment and products liability litigation topics.

Representative Business Litigation

Defense of companies against business conspiracy, trade secret and interference with contract claims.

Represent parties in disputes over indemnification and allocation of liability for commercial and products liability claims.

Defense of claims involving fiduciary duties of officers, directors, and members of corporations, closely-held companies and partnerships.

Representation of broker-dealers and financial advisors in FINRA/NYSE arbitrations.

Representative Employment Matters

Defense and assertion of violations of restrictive covenants, such as non-compete, non-solicit, confidentiality, trade secret and no-hire clauses.

Representation of employers against alleged violations of overtime compensation and wage claims.

Response to and defense of numerous harassment, hostile work environment, sex, race, age, disability, FMLA, workplace defamation and wrongful discharge claims and charges.

Representation of executives and companies in negotiating and preparing compensation and benefit packages, exit strategies, and severance and release arrangements.

Representative Products Liability/Tort Matters

Defense of product liability claims against manufacturers and distributors of various products, such as forklifts and forklift products, construction equipment, brake systems, propane cylinders, all-terrain vehicles, playground equipment, breast implants, motorcycle helmets, commercial floor finishing products, pesticides and herbicides, and mechanical platform lifts.

Representation of owner and property manager against claims of negligence and premises liability arising from tower fire.

Representation of large retail chain against personal injury claims arising from falling merchandise, operation of equipment, and conditions of the premises.

Assertion of tenant claims against owner of office facilities arising from black mold infestation.

Representation of resort complex in premises liability matters involving winter sports and water sports, and commercial tort claims involving easements and cable television rights.


University of Virginia School of Law, J.D., 1981

University of Kentucky, B.B.A., 1978

Prior Experience

Judicial Clerkship – Hon. Glen M. Williams, U.S. District Judge, Western District of Virginia (1981-1982)


Best Lawyers in America
Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Employment Law-Management, Litigation-Labor & Employment, Personal Injury Litigation-Defendants, 1995-2016

Chambers USA
Litigation: General Commercial, 2004-2016

Virginia Super Lawyers
Business Litigation, 2006-2016

Legal Elite (Virginia Business)
Labor/Employment, 2000-2009, 2011-2015
Civil Litigation, 2010


Faculty, National Trial Advocacy College, University of Virginia Law School

Co-author with Michael W. Smith and R. Braxton Hill IV, Business Torts Desk Reference, Virginia chapter, (Morton F. Daller ed., Aspen Law & Business 2009)

Co-author with Craig T. Merritt and David B. Lacy, Survey of Virginia Employment Libel Law (Media Law Resource Center 1999-2008)

Faculty, Virginia State Bar Mandatory Course on Professionalism, 2000-2003

Numerous other law-related articles and lectures at conferences and continuing legal education programs

Professional Affiliations

American College of Trial Lawyers

Lewis F. Powell Jr., American Inn of Court

U.S. Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference
Attorney Member

Virginia State Bar
President, 2012-2013

The Bar Association of the City of Richmond
President, 1999-2000

Virginia Bar Association
Labor & Employment Law Section

Boyd-Graves Conference
Attorney Member

Virginia Law Foundation

Industrial Truck Association
Attorney Attendee

Community Involvement

Virginia Public Safety Foundation, Director Emeritus
Director, 1992-2006
President, 1997-1998
Distinguished Service Award Recipient, 2001

Commonwealth Public Safety Medal of Valor Review Board
Member and Chair, 2003-2010 

Boy Scouts of America, Heart of Virginia Council
Executive Board
Adult Advisor, Troop 772 Philmont Expeditions, 2001, 2003